Oct 23, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017 ~ Jeff Stillman

Theme: Reveal Monday - B-B-B, three word and only three word phrases with all words starting with 'B'.

20. *A little bit at a time, to a mason: BRICK BY BRICKVideo(2:51)

32. *Next step up after a crib, for some toddlers: BIG BOY BED. A tad forced? Clip(0:52)

40. *Hit by *NSYNC about the end of a relationship: "BYE, BYE, BYE"Video(6:42)

50. *Iconic refrain from the Trammps' 1976 hit "Disco Inferno": BURN BABY BURN! Video(3:43)

59. Consumer protection org., and a hint to the answers to starred clues: BBB. (Better Business Bureau)

Argyle here. So no Bed, Bath, and Beyond; no Best Buy bargain. Mostly solid entries but still some fill that might raise questions. We'll see.


1. Eydie who sang with Steve Lawrence: GORMÉ 4-Down. Did a Cuban dance: MAMBOED

6. Began a typical triathlon: SWAM, then bike and finally, run.

10. Went lickety-split: SPED

14. Construction girder: I-BEAM

15. Prefix with legal: PARA

16. Epitaph starter: HERE

Here lies
Johnny Yeast.
Pardon me
For not rising.

17. Six-inch putt, say, in golf lingo: GIMME

18. Distinctive flair: ELAN

19. Eye part: IRIS

23. Heavy favorites: SHOO-INS

26. Those women, in Spain: ELLAs

27. Shabby homes: HOVELS

28. Huge: LARGE

31. Surprise police action: RAID. "Cheese it! The cops."

36. Grecian vessel of verse: URN

37. What "is yet to come," in a Sinatra classic: THE BEST

39. Shogun stronghold: EDO. The former name of Tokyo.

42. When repeated, a Samoan city: PAGO

43. Sleep clinic study: APNEA

44. Got via hard work: EARNED

46. Chicago airport: O'HARE

49. Diplomatic office: EMBASSY

54. Playground retort: "AM SO"

55. Shapeless mass: BLOB

56. Biting: ACERB

60. Space Race destination: MOON

61. Theater level: LOGE. Best seats.

62. Cygnus' brightest star: DENEB. Deneb lies at one vertex of a widely spaced asterism called the Summer Triangle. Wiki

63. "Rule, Britannia" composer: ARNE. Thomas Arne (1710 – 1778)

64. "Goodness gracious!": "EGAD!"

65. Founded: Abbr.: ESTAB. (established)


1. Jazzman's job: GIG

2. Japanese sash: OBI

3. Sleep stage: REM. (rapid eye movement)

5. TV chef Lagasse: EMERIL

6. Contractor's details: SPECS. specifications.

7. Base on balls: WALK

8. Spirited horse: ARAB

9. Scads of: MANY

10. Child star Temple: SHIRLEY. Heidi.

11. Danger: PERIL

12. "All My Children" vixen: ERICA. The anti-Heidi.

13. Newsroom fixtures: DESKS

21. Helpful connections: INs

22. Fathered, biblically: BEGOT

23. Landscaper's planting: SHRUB

24. White with age: HOARY

25. Sheeplike: OVINE

28. Tripoli's country: LIBYA Update: This Tripoli is the second largest city in Lebanon.

Here is the Libyan Tripoli.

29. 1958 Pulitzer-winning author James: AGEE. "A Death in the Family"

30. Football carriers: Abbr.: RBs. (running back)

32. "Cheers" actress Neuwirth: BEBE. She portrayed Lilith Frasier.

33. Spilled the __: told all: BEANS

34. Barely beats: EDGES

35. Puppet Howdy __: DOODY. If you were around when this was new ....

37. Easygoing sort: TYPE B

38. Egg layer: HEN

41. Without exception: BAR NONE

42. Struts like a horse: PRANCES

44. Australian runner: EMU

45. Use sandpaper on: ABRADE

46. Trump predecessor: OBAMA

47. Funny stuff: HUMOR

48. Felonious flames: ARSON. Alliteration.

49. Subsided: EBBED

51. Ready, willing and __: ABLE

52. Modern diary: BLOG. I read, "Modern dairy". Oops.

53. Discipline with mats: YOGA

57. Tolkien tree creature: ENT

58. Stephen of "The Crying Game": REA


Oct 22, 2017

Sunday Oct 22, 2017 Garry Morse

Theme: "Mending Things"- M-ending. M sound is added to each theme entry, changing spelling as needed.

23A. Result of failing to catch a wascally wabbit? : ELMER'S GLOOM. Elmer's Glue.

25A. Viral video about Dre's headphones? : BEATS MEME. Beats me. Beats by Dr.
56A. "I'm the best on the runway," e.g.? : MODELING CLAIM. Modeling clay.

78A. Herb served only on trains? : RAILROAD THYME. Railroad tie.

113A. Floral stench? : BLOOM FUNK. Blue funk.

115A. Poor prompt to a friend who's been asked what the capital of Alaska is? : JUST SAY NOME. Just Say No.

38D. British cop's heartthrob? : BOBBY FLAME. Bobby Flay.

43D. Some "Ghostbusters" jokes? : SLIME HUMOR. Sly humor.

What a nice title. It captures the sound change gimmick perfectly.

Two changes in first words, six changes in last word. Very consistent. Jeffrey did a similar M-ending puzzle last year. His gimmick involved the second word only. Fun to compare both puzzles. 

1. "Take __!" : THAT. Not CARE.

5. Follower of Zeno : STOIC

10. Revelatory moments : AHAs

14. Concert site : HALL

18. Gives a shine to : WAXES

20. Conveyor connected to a pump : AORTA. Heart pump.

21. Norse trickster : LOKI. Pronounced like "low-key".

22. Mayberry redhead : OPIE

27. Ultimate : EVENTUAL

28. Barak of Israel : EHUD. Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001.

30. Victim of Casca : CAESAR. Casca attacked Caesar first.

31. Litany from a lying perp : DENIALS

32. Pasta wheat : DURUM. Latin for "hard".

34. Ad hoc gp. : COMM. Committee.

35. ISP alternative : DSL

36. "C'mon, bro!" : AW MAN!

37. Landlocked African land : ZIMBABWE. Sadza (white cornmeal) is a staple there.

41. "Are not!" evoker : AM SO

44. Holiday seasons : YULES

46. Underwater stabilizer : KEEL

48. Embellish : ADORN. Are those sprinkles on the plate dried herbs?

49. Tops off : FILLS

51. Zip : NIL

52. Seriously hurt : MAIM

54. StubHub parent company : EBAY

55. Young Darth's nickname : ANI

62. Hang-thread link : BY A

63. Inviting words : COME ON IN

65. Risk it : DARE. And 118. A risk might be taken on one : LARK. Not DARE.

66. Like some R-rated films : RACY

68. Took an arduous trip : TREKKED

69. "Sexy" Beatles woman : SADIE

70. Pathetic : PITIFUL

73. Walk obediently : HEEL

74. Biceps exercise : CHIN

75. "You're not done talking, are you?" : WHAT ELSE

76. Soccer phenom Freddy : ADU. Once touted as The Next Pelé.

82. Wore (away) : ATE

83. NASA vehicles : LEMs

85. Court entry : PLEA

86. Barrel contents : OIL

87. Any of three Ottoman sultans : AHMED. New to me. It means "highly praised" in Arabic.

89. Beef recall cause : E. COLI

91. Poetic foot : IAMB

93. Mideast capital at 7,380 feet : SANA'A

95. Hefty refs. : OEDs. Oxford English Dictionary.

96. Toyota compacts : COROLLAs

98. Somewhat high : TIPSY

100. Not cloudy: Abbr. : CLR. OK. Clear. We just had a beautiful week here in MN. Amazing to walk on fallen leaves in summer-like weather. 

102. Tidy the garden, in a way : WEED

103. Charge : RUN AT

104. It precedes some hockey games : O CANADA

108. Creativity result : OUTPUT

111. Hall of Fame catcher Carlton : FISK. So who is your favorite all-time catcher?

112. Sweater type : CARDIGAN

119. Rickey flavoring : LIME

120. __ nous : ENTRE

121. Half a '60s-'70s pop duo : SONNY

122. Poker game starter : ANTE. And 124. Poker game betrayals : TELLS

123. 2000, for one : YEAR

125. Where Nike has no "i," briefly : NYSE. Nike stock ticker is NKE.


1. Suit material : TWEED

2. Cut in two : HALVE

3. Corporate heavies : AX MEN. Is this a common saying?

4. Young star : TEEN IDOL

5. They go on for generations : SAGAS

6. Turnpike fee : TOLL

7. Medalla de victor : ORO

8. Skater Midori : ITO

9. Smartphone feature : CAMERA

10. "Dark Sky Island," e.g. : ALBUM. Clue echo at 40. "Dark Sky Island" musician : ENYA.

11. Did some gardening : HOED

12. Alias preceder : AKA

13. Without ads, it's usually about 21 or 22 minutes : SITCOM

14. Like much jam : HOMEMADE. Pickling was quite popular when I grew up. Probably because sugar was rationed, no one made jam. I have fond memories of a mulberry tree.

15. Copies : APES

16. __ bean : LIMA

17. Inappropriate look : LEER

19. Sp. lasses : SRTAs

24. 2016 film subtitled "Miracle on the Hudson" : SULLY

26. Latin dance : SAMBA

29. Eye-opener at the gym : HUNK. Such an unexpected answer.

32. Live : DWELL

33. Uncertain sounds : UMs

34. Eyelashes : CILIA. Learned form doing crosswords.

36. Not from around here : ALIEN

37. Enthusiasm : ZEAL

39. "King Kong" (1933) actress : WRAY (Fay)

41. "It's __!": "True!" : A FACT

42. Bouncer's concern : MINOR

45. Reversed : UNDID

47. Host : EMCEE

50. Barbecue equipment using wood : SMOKER

53. Sister of Moses : MIRIAM. This stumped me before.

57. Swimmer's unit : ONE LAP

58. Panhandle state : IDAHO

59. Gymnast Comaneci : NADIA

60. Tedious work : GRIND

61. Kathy of country : MATTEA

64. Barely get, with "out" : EKE

67. Co. in Cannes : CIE

69. "Get lost!" : SCRAM

70. Kingdom subdivisions : PHYLA. Plural of phylum.

71. "¿Cómo está __?" : USTED

72. __ United: English soccer team : LEEDS. Anyone remember Steve's team?

75. Sniveling : WHINY

76. Smart guy? : ALEC

77. Art __ : DECO

79. Homeric epic : ILIAD

80. Beethoven strolled in them for inspiration : LEAS.  I thought the answer would be German for "parks".

81. Done for : TOAST. Yay, Astros! Good to see you back, TTP!

84. Highway hazard : SLOWPOKE

88. Interfere with : HORN IN ON

90. Intestinal section : ILEUM. Plural ILEA.

92. A/C measure : BTUs

93. Day or nail follower : SPA

94. West African capital : ACCRA

97. Uncork, so to speak : LET FLY

99. Laser alternative : INKJET

101. __ man : LADY'S. Not an easy fill-in-the-blank. So many choices.

103. "Star Trek: TNG" first officer : RIKER (Will). Another learning moment.

104. Refreshment spots : OASES

105. Extreme pain : AGONY

106. Condemns : DAMNS

107. In the blink of __ : AN EYE

108. Beatles nonsense syllables : OB-LA

109. __ Bator : ULAN. Beautiful name in Chinese.

110. Battery, e.g. : TORT

111. Low-cost home loan org. : FNMA

112. Bottom row PC key : CTRL

114. Turn often prohibited, slangily : UIE

116. French article : UNE

117. Home of the NHL's Blues : STL

Oct 21, 2017

Saturday Oct 21, 2017 Ed Sessa

Theme: None

Words: 72 (missing F,Q,X)

Blocks: 29

Wow - I find it hard to believe that we have not had a Saturday Ed Sessa puzzle in over a year - I went looking for his last Saturday construction in 2017, and didn't find one.  Huh.  Anyway, today's contribution was an easy one, for me, with only one small area that had triple crossing proper names which slowed me down - WAG to the rescue~!  A triple axis symmetrical grid, with 7x7 corners and nothing longer than 7 letters;

17. Dryer component : AIR VENT - TUMBLER fit, too.  As a Home Inspector, I strongly suggest cleaning out your dryer hose and vent....

Which can lead to this 

12. Rodents on wheels, perhaps : PET MICE - it was hamsters for me when I was a "ute".  Pet mice became the feed for the ball python snake that we had later on....I have already been called a "ghoul" for sharing this info in previous blogs

38. Brought down a Giant, say : TACKLED - the capital "G" made me think this was a SF baseball "strike out" reference, but no~! -  it's football, and right in my neighborhood - the NY Giants

how it feels to know the Jets have a better record

66. Hooks or lures : TEASERS - ah, this kind of lure....

what lies....


1. Get lovey-dovey : SNUGGLE - makes me think of the George Thorogood song and his land lady

@1:05 & 2:45

8. Ramble : TRAIPSE - I like using the word traipse

15. Fertilizes, in a way : MANURES - as a verb~?  Meh. Just go with fertilizeRs....

16. Spousal consent : YES, DEAR

18. Creamy rice dish : RISOTTO

19. Tiruchirappalli title : SRI

20. California region named for a literary hero : TARZANA - part of the three-crossing proper name section that had me stumped at the very end; great WAG going with a "Z" on my part

22. It can lead into day or night : MID - mid-day, midnight

23. Shade-loving plant : HOSTA - my first thought, but I waited

25. Big chunk of time : EON

26. State probably named for a French province : MAINE - could only be this, IDAHO or TEXAS - and I am pretty sure that last one is not Frawnche

28. Mobile app? : UBER - part of last week's Sat blog, too

29. Relay settings : MEETS

31. Object of veneration : ICON - dah~! Not iDoL

32. Edible conifer seed : PINE NUT - got it

34. Part : SEGMENT - pondered SECTION

36. Many an IKEA buy : KIT - isn't all their furniture "ready to assemble"~?  I have not been there in a decade

37. Slangy refusal : NAH

42. Arrivals : COMINGS

46. Kyrgyzstan range : ALAI - oops, not aRaL

47. Interior design : DECOR - one of my responsibilities at the new job is maintaining the owner's house, which is this spread right down the road from the warehouse nestled among the vines - but the original owner's decor choices are, um, shocking; I'll see about getting a pic

49. Glitzy affair : GALA

50. Informed, with "in" : CLUED

52. Sound heard going up a mountain, maybe : POP - think inner ear

53. Film in which the title character says, "I don't permit the suffering. You do" : OH, GOD! - this movie; IMDb

54. Yoga class syllables : OMs

55. "Please, please ... " : "I BEG YOU..."

58. Half-hearted : WAN - that's half-Ben, too - OBI Kenobi, that is

59. Asphalt : BITUMEN - nope, not MACADAM

61. Prevailing conditions : CLIMATE - oooh~!  Good guess for me

63. Absinthe flavoring : ANISEED - I thought it was ANISE, but the "SEED" part didn't come to mind right off

64. Solemnly commands : ADJURES

65. Gets new players for : RECASTS - I was thinking DRAFTS, but this is stage, not sport


1. Road wreck : SMASH UP

2. Capital south of Addis Ababa : NAIROBI - I had the ---BI part, so this is what I figured it had to be

3. Not yet up : UNRISEN - I still get up at "UPS time", but now I use that 2-3 hours for my own enjoyment

4. Bloke's address : GUV - British slang, which I was familiar with from watching BBC shows growing up

5. Actress Scacchi : GRETA - I knew the actress' name, but couldn't recall anything that she starred in - until I looked at her film credits; the one movie I saw that was a real thriller was "Shattered"

6. Siberian river to the Arctic Ocean : LENA - one of the three proper name crossings; the "LEN-" part filled via perps, but the last letter was going to have to be a WAG

7. Where the Boss' band once rehearsed : E STREET

8. Hard heads : TYRANTS

9. Buttermilk holder? : REIN - I had no idea what this was getting at, until I had the "REI-" filled in, and then I figured Buttermilk must have been a popular horse - can you tell how young I am~?  I had to look up who made Buttermilk 'famous'....the Wiki

10. Indian tea region : ASSAM - I just had to fill in the "A"s

11. Bachelor's last words? : "I DO."

13. Attended informally : SAT IN ON

14. Like the wind : ERODENT - a force which erodes, not an online PET MOUSE (e-rodent~? C'mon, that's funny)

21. Muppet friend of Elmo : ZOE - third proper name crossing, no clue.

24. Any one of the male "Big Bang Theory" main characters : TREKKIE - I cannot stand the show - not even the commercials featuring the characters - but I did tune into "The Orville" on demand, and I like it - total Star Trek TNG rip-off, but with that Seth McFarlane twist.

27. Shoot for the moon : AIM HIGH

29. Softened : MUTED - like colors

30. Man of La Mancha : SEÑOR

33. Nada : NIL

35. Whale group : GAM - I had the "A", and thought the answer was "POD", but no - here's a list of animal group names. When I punched in "whale gam", I got "game" instead - and this was interesting to read....

38. Buffet featuring tortillas and fixings : TACO BAR

39. Hog's call? : "ALL MINE~!" - at the taco bar~?

40. Biting : CAUSTIC

41. Conditioned response? : "DEPENDS."

42. Repro man? : COPYCAT - har-har

43. Source of some annoying online messages : NAGWARE - I tried MaLware

44. Crowing type : GLOATER

45. The blues : SADNESS

48. Gear tooth : COG - I thought this was synonymous with "gear", but it is actually the tooth OF a gear

51. Mercury money : DIMES - I did not understand the clue, so I went to Google after the fact and found out that we had a different coin prior to 1945 - which makes sense, now; the Wiki

53. Medium board : OUIJA - ah.  The carpenter in me wondered what size lumber is a "medium" board....duh.  Oh, that medium

56. Source of folic acid : BEET

57. Quaint retail adjective : OLDE - Ye Olde Croffwerde Blogge

60. Letters on some tee tags : USA

62. Ancient Greek statuary site: Abbr. : MUSeum


Oct 20, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017, Jeffrey Wechsler

Title: Okay, please vote:  [   ] Six degrees of HAM; or  [   ] a HAM handed puzzle.

JW features one of his favorite and difficult "add a three or four letter word" themes. He makes it especially Friday hard by including two very hard fill to parse. Then he generously gives us a reveal if we get lost. You need a wide variety of knowledge to get through this one. The First 2 themers add HAM to the first word in a phrase. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The next 2? Well despite commentary to the contrary - that is what makes it a puzzle.

As always Jeffrey gives us some fun fill - IN TEARS, ONE PUTT, OVERUSE, RAT-A-TAT, STOOLIE, STRAP ON and TRUSSES, but mostly it is the theme that drives this wagon.

So with further ado....

16A. Early sustenance for Bruce Wayne? : GOTHAM MILK (10). GOT MILK is modified by the fictional name of Batman's New York City.

22A. Handing a St. Louis team an embarrassing loss? : SHAMING THE BLUES (15). SING THE BLUES (not the Cards) works as well.

33A. Tribal VIP's family? : SHAMAN KIN (10). SAN KIN? Huh? Of course, SANK IN.

49A. Easy out in rodent baseball? : POPUP TO A HAMSTER (15). And my favorite - POPUP TOASTER.

57A. Went all out on stage ... or a hint to the four other longest puzzle answers : HAMMED IT UP (10). That is it.


1. Kind of rain or rock: ACID.

5. Affect profoundly: AWE. Aww.

8. Often-converted residence: LOFT.

12. Like the "funny bone" nerve: ULNAR. Ulna and Radius.

14. Poet Silverstein: SHEL. I met Shel's work reading Playboy in the 60s. LINK. Hef outlived him by 18 years.

15. Declare firmly: AVER.

18. Country where Quechua is spoken: PERU. It is now an official language in three countries.  In 1975 Peru became the first country to recognize Quechua as one of its official languages. Ecuador conferred official status on the language in its 2006 constitution, and in 2009, Bolivia adopted a new constitution that recognized Quechua and several other indigenous languages as official languages of the country. Wiki.

19. Great Plains native: UTE.

20. Pluto quintet: MOONS.                   LINK

21. Gets on the wrong train, say: ERRS.

26. Mother with a Nobel prize: TERESA. She shares her date of birth with Lyndon Johnson and Hannibal Hamlin, among others.

27. Fight in the backwoods: RASSLE.

28. Vacation fill-in: Abbr. : ASST. Temp? WTH?

29. Message often included in its response: EMAIL. Have any of you turned off the automatic inclusion?

32. Central Dallas? : ELS.

37. Elastic wood: ASH. I am sure you want to know more about this WOOD.

40. Sister magazine of Jet: EBONY.

41. God with a quiver: EROS. And a bow made out of ash?

45. Where the groom may walk down the aisle: STABLE. Really inventive and cute clue/fill. JW at his best.

47. Soi-__: self-styled: DISANT. JW, really? This is a very obscure term. DEFINE.

53. Components of 56-Across : HOPS. Not necessarily, ...strictly speaking ale can be made from simply malt, water and yeast. It is extremely unusual not to use hops. Home-brew handbook. 56A. Malt creations : ALES.

54. Quartet member : VIOLA. The four instruments in a string quartet are almost always 2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello. Various.

55. Org. with Jungians : APAAmerican Psychological Association. Many of them are old.

59. Ticket booth sight : LINE.

60. Protected, in a way : ALEE.

61. Sister of Thalia : ERATO. The Nine Muses in Greek mythology have been an inspiration to artists since antiquity. They are (in alphabetical order): Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania. (Owlcation- do not go to this website, you may never escape).

62. Hardy heroine : TESS. I just had her in a puzzle recently.

63. Perception-changing drug : LSD. I just had some in a puzzle.

64. Letter heading abbr. : ATTN.


1. Masters course : AUGUSTA. Bobby Jones and the dream course. Take a TOUR

2. Fabled emperor's lack: CLOTHES.  Did you know the STORY was written by Hans Christian Andersen? Andersen's fairy tales (of which there are no less than 3381 works !) have been translated into more than 125 languages... his most famous fairy tales include "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", "The Nightingale", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "Thumbelina", and many others. Various.

3. Emotionally overwhelmed : IN TEARS.

4. Morse "T": DAH.

5. "Can't you take __?" : A HINT.

6. Like Roald Dahl, by birth: WELSH. The wonderful author - LINK.

7. Yellowstone grazer: ELK.

8. Settings for small American flags: LAPELS.

9. Do to death: OVERUSE.

10. Voice of President Business in "The Lego Movie": FERRELL. SNL grad Will.

11. Bridge supports: TRUSSES.

13. "Ghostbusters" actor : RAMIS. He died this year.

14. Air quality issue: SMOG. I believe this was my first known portmanteau (Smoke-Fog)

17. Lisa's title: MONA.  Mona in Italian is a polite form of address originating as "ma donna" – similar to "Ma’am", "Madam." Wiki and others.

23. Team whose mascot's head is a baseball: METS. He got fired for giving the one finger
salute to a brewers fan. With only three to work with, which one is the bad one?

24. Viking history VIP: ERIK. No Minnesota players named Erik?

25. Island near Java: BALI.

29. Confessional music genre: EMO.

30. Anthropologist's subject: MAN.

31. Whichever: ANY.

34. Give a hand : HELP.

35. Assist badly? : ABET. Why not, "Give a hand, badly?"

36. Storied loch: NESS.

37. It might be on the road for years: ASPHALT.

38. Cop's info source: STOOLIE. Derived from stool pigeons - carvings used to trap hawks.

39. Stumbles (upon): HAPPENS.

42. Snare drum sound: RAT-A-TAT.

43. Feature of many a birdie: ONE PUTT. Bubba Watson had 11(18) ONE PUTT greens when he won his second masters title.

44. Secure, as a knapsack: STRAP ON. This is the second clue fill of the puzzle I have had to muzzle myself while writing.

46. Smooches: BUSSES.

47. Glen relative: DALE. Who is Dale Campbell?  Oh, is that Chip's real name?

48. "__ these wars for Egypt": Antony: I MADE. A fun Friday Will Shakespeare quote.
"I made these wars for Egypt, and the Queen,
Whose heart I thought I had, for she had mine—
Which whilst it was mine had annexed unto ’t
A million more, now lost—she, Eros, has
Packed cards with Caesar and false-played my glory
Unto an enemy’s triumph."

50. Shapes formed by angled spotlights: OVALS.

51. Zeroed in: AIMED.

52. Telecommuter's workplace: HOME. Yeah me and the once mighty Barry G. You are missed.

57. Clarke computer: HAL.

58. Nest egg acronym: IRAIndividual Retirement Account.

Wowzer, here we are in middle of fall with shorter days and longer nights and so many birthdays - those cold January nights - but nothing slows JW (or C.C. and her minions) down. I had fun, enjoy the weekend. Lemonade out.

Oct 19, 2017

Thursday October 19 2017 Bruce Haight

Theme: Aural Plurals - repeat the last letter of each theme answer and listen to the result:

17A. Southern dish, so we hear : BLACK-EYED PP (Peas). Food! I'm happy already.

25A. World's navigable waters, so we hear : SEVEN CC (Seas) I wanted to link the OMD song from the 80's for this, but I went back to listen to it on YouTube, and, actually, it really wasn't very good. I thought that I remembered that the drum riff intro was awesome, but, in hindsight, it was - pants What happened to the bass?I must have imagined it. See  what you think? Maybe I had "drink taken", as my Irish family would say. I was young. Moving on.

36A. Welcome relief, so we hear : A SIGHT FOR SORE II (Eyes)

48A. Suggestive dance, so we hear : STRIP TT (Tease)


57A. Warning hint, so we hear : WORD TO THE YY (Wise)

Another cracking puzzle from Bruce. I tumbled to the theme right off the bat, but that didn't spoil my amusement one bit. The fill is great, the theme entries all very much fun, and those 6's, 8's and 10's in the downs just speak to the quality of the construction.

There are a couple or more candidate theme phrases out there that spring to mind such as THE BIRDS AND THE BB, Yellow Submarine's A LIFE OF EE, TORONTO BLUE JJ, POOL QQ but probably not enough to expand this to a Sunday-size. Shame, because I'm sure Bruce could to a sterling job with a 21x21.

Anyway, great stuff, Bruce! Let's see what else jumps out - BOO! - it is Hallowe'en season after all.


1. Wing it : AD LIB

6. Doing battle : AT WAR

11. Quarterback Brady : TOM. Just this week, the New York Giant's GM at the time, Ernie Accorsi, revealed that he ignored pleas from one of his staff to draft Brady in the 6th round and regretted it ever since. Brady fell to the Patriots and look how that turned out, but Ernie shouldn't be so tough on himself. No-one else saw that coming.

14. "Fun With Dick and Jane" (2005) actress : LEONI

15. Hourglass, e.g. : SHAPE. TIMER sprung to mind first.

16. Political commentator Navarro : ANA

19. Tap site : KEG. Tried BAR first. Then I got to 33A and out it came.

20. Justice Dept. branch : A.T.F.  Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Sounds like a "Bring Your Own" party invitation somewhere out in West Texas.

21. Fair : EVEN

22. What "A" is for, in Sue Grafton's mystery series : ALIBI

24. Hot rod? : SPIT. Food! reference. Think rotisserie.

27. __ Friday : CASUAL. I had CA**AL and was wondering why I'd never heard of CARNAL FRIDAY nor been invited to an event.

30. Savory Chinese snack : TEA EGG Food! A boiled egg is cracked, then boiled again in tea and five-spice powder before being shelled.

31. Manufacturing facility : PLANT

32. Manhattan developer? : BAR. Manhattan as in the cocktail, not the island borough, more of which we see below.

33. #1 texting pal : BFF

41. Sevilla sun : SOL

42. Nice way to say no? : NON. Nice, en France. Sur la mer Méditerranée. I have an unpaid parking ticket from a summer trip to Nice about mumble years ago. Did they seriously expect me to pay? Je dit NON!

So,if you're now driving a 1992 red UK-registered Acura Integra, license plate F488 OLC, and reading this, contemplating a trip to Nice, be warned. You're on the hook for about 500 Francs, converted to Euros now, plus penalties, let's say about twelve billion with accrued interest. Be careful.

43. __ signs : VITAL

44. "I bet!" : OH SURE!

47. Composes, as music for a poem : SETS TO. I've been looking this one up and down for a little while. I'm OK with it, I think.

50. Put on : WORE

51. Hindu class : CASTE. We are heading into Diwali, the great Hindu "festival of light" which runs for five days, this year starting today on the 19th. I was lucky enough to be in Mumbai for Diwali one year, it was quite beautiful.

52. Works on walls : OILS. Not MURALS then? Nope, can't force six letters into four squares.

53. Nursery complaint : WAH!

56. __ Dhabi : ABU

61. "Little ol' me?" : MOI?

62. "Middlemarch" novelist : ELIOT. George Eliot, a pen-name for Mary Ann Evans. She used the nom de plume as she thought she'd have a better chance of publishers accepting her work if they thought she was a guy. Looks like it worked out for her.

63. Flowed back : EBBED

64. Soup cooker : POT

65. Criticize sharply : DECRY. I think sharply and loudly. I'm not sure you can quietly decry.

66. Butch and Sundance chasers : POSSE


1. Goya's "Duchess of __" : ALBA. He painted her a bunch of times, including the famous reclining studies of her dressed and undressed. This one is a little less risqué:

2. Muscle used to raise your hand in school, for short : DELToid. Fun clue.

3. Lollygag : LOAF

4. "Monsters, __" : INC

5. Spokesperson's route? : BIKE PATH. Very nice.

6. Till now : AS YET

7. In those days : THEN

8. Gum ball : WAD

9. Galaxy download : APP. The Galaxy smartphone.

10. Maintain, as roads : RE-PAVE

11. Bookie's work : TAKING BETS

12. Last non-AD yr. : ONE B.C. Apparently we should use BCE/CE now to avoid upsetting sensitive folk.

13. Tricks : MAGIC

18. Wicked : EVIL

23. Cut of lamb : LEG! More Food! I love leg of lamb. I either roast it bone-in for a British-style Sunday lunch, or bone it, butterfly it and grill it for a more Mediterranean-style treatment.

24. Belted out : SUNG, lustily.

25. Burn slightly : SEAR

26. They may ring or have rings : EARS

27. Calculating pros : CPA'S

28. Plus : ALSO

29. Outfit with bell-bottom trousers : SAILOR SUIT. Here's a great clip from the Broadway musical "On The Town" filmed on the streets of the city.

30. Steak named for its shape : T-BONE. Food! Flatiron (another New York landmark!) didn't fit. Tri-tip would work too, it's triangular, hence the name. Someone tried to tell me once that the New York Strip is so-called because it's the same shape as Manhattan. Not buying that one.

34. Bravo automaker : FIAT

35. Dough used in baklava : FILO

37. Letter-shaped fastener : T-NUT. I thought these were the same as wing nuts, but no.

38. One might be made of sheets and pillows : FORT

39. Exceed, as a boundary : OVERSTEP

40. Bris, e.g. : RITE. Crosses filled this in for me, I didn't see it until I came to the write up.

45. Flop's opposite : HIT

46. Gushed : SPEWED

47. Go it alone : SOLO

48. Rapscallion : SCAMP

49. Just not done : TABOO

50. Quick with comebacks : WITTY

52. Funk : ODOR

53. Halloween decor : WEBS

54. All in favor : AYES

55. Literary alter ego : HYDE. Dr. Jekyll's alter, and more unpleasant, ego.

58. Stadium cry : OLÉ!

59. Wrestler Flair nicknamed "The Nature Boy" : RIC. Thank you, crosses. Ric Ocasek from "The Cars" is the only Ric on my radar.

60. "Entourage" channel : HBO "Home Box Office", originally. No longer abbreviated! They make some great original programming. So great that I cancelled my subscription last year. Still trying to figure out the rationale behind that one.

Grid? Here it is! Hasta luego!

Actually, this has nothing whatever to do with the puzzle today, but I came across a recording of "La Bamba" this week (while I was doing my Spanish language homework) that I want to share. Click this link, put your screen into full size, crank up your volume and enjoy three minutes of really joyful music.The producers put together a virtual band from all around the world and recorded the result. Baby-Black-Dombe is only slightly cheating by not singing in Spanish, but the whole thing is fantastic!

Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan, soy capitan!


Oct 18, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 Robin Stears

Theme GUARDS! GUARDS! As we shall soon see, each theme entry is a [more or less] in-the -language two-word phrase that contains two quite different kinds of GUARDS. In all cases, each theme word can be followed by the word GUARD to yield a different in-the-language phrase.

17 A. Eastern seaboard, facetiously : RIGHT COAST.  I can't recall hearing it addressed as such, but it makes sense if you look at a map.  But why facetiously?  RIGHT GUARD is a lineman position on an American football team, and the deodorant brand he might chose after a shower. The COAST GUARD is a branch of the U.S. military that protects life, property and territory along the country's shore lines.

25 A. Unlikely to run : COLOR SAFE.  These colors don't run.  Hence the term.  Also a palette of 256 colors that is consistent on any computer monitor.   A COLOR GUARD is a uniformed group who present or parade an institutional or national flag on formal occasions.   To SAFE GUARD is to take active measures to protect against some undesirable event.

46 A. Secret overseas cash stash site : SWISS BANK.  I think the Cayman Islands and Cyprus give them some competition these days.  The SWISS GUARD is a small force stationed in the Vatican, responsible for the safety of the Pope.  They are famous for their colorful uniforms.

A BANK GUARD protects your deposited savings.

58 A. What Aladdin craved and Jasmine wanted to escape, in the Disney film : PALACE LIFE.  Aladdin is a street urchin who longs for wealth and luxury.  Jasmine has it all and finds it profoundly unsatisfying.  So - a match made in heaven, right?  The PALACE GUARD is responsible for keeping the PALACE and its occupants safe from street urchins and other miscreants.   A LIFE GUARD is a certified swimmer and CPR expert whose job is to keep us from drowning at the beach or pool. 

And, at last, the unifier.  37 A. Increase security twofold ... and what 17-, 25-, 46- and 58-Across literally do : DOUBLE THE GUARDS.   Twice as many guards should keep out twice as many urchins. And this is the apt description for the other theme entries, each having two kinds of GUARDS.

 Hi Gang, JazzBumpa on duty to GUARD your way through today's puzzling adventure.  Robin Stears has given us a good one with four clever theme entries and a grid-spanning unifier.  


1. Back (out) : OPT.  Well, you can OTP out before you ever OPT in, but OK.

4. Go by : ELAPSE.  As time.

10. Peak in Thessaly : OSSA.  Greek mountain

14. Can. neighbor : USA.  Here we are.

15. City on the Liffey : DUBLIN.  It flows through the center of town.

I've seen Dublin twice,

Thrace thrice; made repeated trips
To WallaWalla.

16. Performs like Kanye : RAPS.  

19. Frantically : AMOK.  On a rampage.

20. Out in the open : OVERT.  With no attempt to conceal.

21. Open in the garden : BLOOM.  Look at all them BLOOMIN' flars.

22. Narrow opening : SLIT. Or cut.

28. Insinuate : HINT AT, To suggest indirectly or unpleasantly about something bad.  I could in-sin -you-ate about Mrs. Sprat's gluttony. 

31. Kitchen gadgets brand : OXO.

32. Sneak attack : AMBUSH.  Not OVERT, at least not at first.

33. Dryly amusing : WRY. As humor.

34. "More info later": Abbr. : TBA. To Be Announced.

41. Radical '60s gp. : SDS. Students for a Democratic Society.

42. Besides : TOO.  Also.

43. Scramble, as a secret message : ENCODE.  Convert into a decipherable form.

44. Tile container in Scrabble : BAG.  

45. Write, as music : NOTATE.  The act of writing out the score, not the act of composition.

52. Japanese noodle : UDON.

53. Leg bone : TIBIA.

54. Midwestern city associated with steaks : OMAHA.

57. Additionally : ELSE. Or alternatively

63. Abbr. on a city limits sign : ELEVation.

64. What's for dinner : ENTREE.  The main course.

65. Speed (up) : REV.  Hit the accelerator.

66. Piece of glass : PANE.  In the industry, this was commonly called a "light," or even worse, a "lite." Drove me nuts.

67. Radical in aspirin and vinegar : ACETYL.  This refers to a portion of a molecule that is common to vinegar [acetic acid] where the rest of the molecule is an -OH group; and to aspirin [acetylsalicylic acid] where it combines with a pendant -OH group on a larger molecule [salicylic acid] to form an ester.  In this form, it much less aggressive than uncombined salicylic acid, which is too harsh on the digestive system to be taken internally.   Externally, salicylic acid is used to remove warts and treat other skin conditions.

68. Spot on a peacock's tail : EYE.


1. Taylor Swift's "__ Song" : OUR.

2. Trident-shaped letter : PSI (uppercase Ψ, lowercase ψ; Greek: ψι psi) is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet.

3. "You're it!" game : TAG.  Touch me if you can.

4. 1999 Ron Howard satire : ED TV.

5. Journalist Clare Boothe __ : LUCE.   U.S. Ambassador to Italy [1953-60,] congressional representative from Connecticut [1943-47,] author, journalist and playwright.   Her husband Henry published Time, Look, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated magazines.

6. Multiple choice choices : A B OR C.

7. "Republic" philosopher : PLATO.    Cave man.

8. Family gal : SISter

9. MD treating canals : ENTEar, Nose and Throat specialist.

10. Postgrad tests : ORALS.  Question and answer ordeals.

11. South Pacific island nation : SAMOA.  My friend married a Polynesian woman.  Every time he kissed her, he wanted SAMOA.

12. "Blazing Saddles," for one : SPOOF. An exaggerated, humorous imitation or parody.

13. "Shoot!" : ASK ME.

18. Après-ski amenities : HOT TUBS.

21. Dude : BRO.  Buddy, pal - you know - moron.

22. Herring prized for its roe : SHAD.  I'll try anything [within reason] once, and that was enough.  This is on the short list of things I will never eat again.

23. Long rides? : LIMOS.  Usually a stretched vehicle.

24. Preparing to flower : IN BUD.

26. Handed-down tales : LORE.

27. Gas in a tank : OXYGEN.   For people with breathing difficulties.

29. Syst. with hand signals : American Sign Language.

30. What a treater picks up : THE TAB.  At the tavern, not on Halloween.

33. "Says __?" : WHO.  Expression of skepticism.

34. Touch-related : TACTUAL.  A word you are unlikely to encounter ever again.

35. In __ daylight : BROAD.  Narrow daylight is not so OVERT.

36. Supplement : ADD TO.  Here, supplement is a verb, not a vitamine capsule.

38. Garment worn in HBO's "Rome" : TOGA.  Or "Animal House."

39. 108-card game : UNO.

40. Not hidden : SEEN.  OVERT.

44. Merit badge org. : Boy Scouts of America.

46. Expensive : STEEP.   The price is high.

47. "My Ántonia" novelist Cather : WILLA.  American [1873-1947,]

48. "Hedda Gabler" playwright : IBSEN. Henrick, Norwegian [1828-1906.]

49. It won't hold water : SIEVE.  If you try, you might strain yourself.

50. Nick of "Hotel Rwanda" : NOLTE.  American actor [b 1941]

51. Chain with a Smart Sense store brand : K-MART.  Rapidly shrinking chain.

55. __-deucey : ACEY.  Card game

56. Scoundrel : HEEL.  Cad.

58. Stew vegetable : PEA.  Or porridge - hot or cold.

59. Mandela's org. : ANC.   African National Congress.

60. 15-Across locale: Abbr. : IRE.   The Auld Sod, the Emerald Isle.

61. 2000s "SNL" notable Tina : FEY.  American actor, comedian, writer and producer [b 1970.]

62. Wrapping time : EVE.  Not at our house.  Christmas EVE is when we have our big clan gathering.  The various sub-groups spend Christmas day with the other branches of their respective families.

That wraps up another Thursday EVE at the Corner.  Hope y'all had a fine time.

Cool Regards!